The Prime Empyrean
From Unofficial Handbook of the Virtue Universe
While scientifically the Sun is a fairly common G Class star, I am beginning to understand that our Sun's magical potency, as a symbol of life and of all that is good, is every bit as great as it's power as one of the universe's gigantic natural fusion reactors.
-Excerpt from John's Midnighter study journal
Astronaut Mission Specialist Captain John Phoenix was selected for "Project Prime Empyrean"--a joint NASA/Portal Corp./Crey project to send a manned research mission to the outer corona of the Sun. The plan was to make a manned mission possible using Portal Corp. teleportation to travel the vast distance and integrated Crey force fields for protection from the harsh environment. After the successful experimental deployment and return of two unmanned test probes, it was deemed safe enough to progress to the next phase--sending the first man to the Sun!
Unbeknownst to Portal Corp or NASA, Crey Biotech took advantage of the opportunity to hide a device containing genetically altered Will of the Earth suspended in specially modified Rikti biomorphic gel on the outer hull of the capsule. The device was designed to carefully expose the gel to the plasma and energy of the Sun so that Crey Biotech could use the solar-charged gel in an attempt to create solar powers for their Revenant Hero Project. But they were wrong to think that they could control Will of the Earth.
The moment the probe passed through the portal the secret device activated, and the Will of the Earth used the solar energy it absorbed to attack, exploding the device like a bomb. All that was known back on Earth was that there had been and explosion upon reaching the outer corona of the Sun, and all contact with the probe had been lost. The project was terminated, and John was presumed dead.
One year later, while investigating a recent impact crater, scientists were shocked to find the unconscious body of a man buried deep within it's center. The man was eventually identified as John Phoenix--though both his hair and eyes were now pure white. After extensive examination by the scientists at SERAPH, it was determined that his body had been altered down to the quantum level. He had become, in effect, like a human Sun.
Once John had fully recovered, he donned a costume and took his hero name from the name of the project that had given him his powers. He became--THE PRIME EMPYREAN!
IncarnationBelt of Helios--a magical Incarnate artifact said to bestow the blessing of the Sun god upon its wearer.
Though deep below the Earth, John could feel the warmth and power of the Sun filling his body as he donned the artifact, and he emerged from the passage far more powerful than before. As a man of science, John had little understanding of the mystical forces now at his command. The Midnighters offered to help him learn the ways of magic as a member of their Midnight Squad, so that he might attain greater mastery over his new-found power.
John is normally able to lift (press) approximately 25 tons above his head. However, he is able to temporarily boost his body's energy output, giving himself up to twice his normal physical strength for brief periods of time.
Known Superhuman Powers
The accident that gave John his powers altered him down to the quantum level. He now has a "solar metabolism" (based upon biological hydrogen fusion) and a plasma-based physiology that gives him a variety of superhuman physical attributes and powers. John possesses superhuman strength, stamina, durability, reaction time, and is virtually immune to extremes of heat. John also has what he calls his "solar sight", which is the ability to see all or any individual part of the entire spectrum of radiant energy given off by the Sun. Due to his metabolism and physiology, John's physical needs are minimal. He only needs to breathe enough to replace the hydrogen used by his metabolism (less than one breath per hour in Earth's atmosphere), only needs to eat to replace lost bodily mass, and he no longer seems to age appreciably. His altered physiology renders him immune to normal terrestrial diseases and resistant to poisons. However, his body is still mostly organic in function, and so he does need occasional sleep and he can be rendered unconscious by sufficient force.
John's body can generate high-energy plasma and powerful magnetic fields that he can use to control the plasma for a variety of effects. He can deliver a devastating "solar punch" by surrounding his fists with explosive plasma, project "solar flares" of fiery and/or explosive plasma, and has sufficient control to trap a foe within a sustained ring of plasma at a distance. His body can generate a "corona" of high-energy plasma held within an intense magnetic field. This ignites the surrounding air and acts as a powerful plasma shield, vaporizing projectiles and deflecting or partially absorbing any forces or energy directed towards him. His corona also allows him to fly due to the buoyancy of its low-density plasma and his ability to use it to generate powerful electromagnetic and ionic propulsion for lift and thrust.
John has has some degree of quantum-level control over his body and nearby matter and energy. For example, he can consciously boost his nuclear metabolism to temporarily increase the amount of energy at his disposal and draw energy from his opponents to weaken them and/or to replenish his own energy stores. If injured, John can shift his body into a semi-plasmic state to heal the injuries, and, in the case of extreme physical damage, even briefly convert his entire body to pure plasma and then re-form it, releasing a tremendous amount of heat and explosive energy in the process.
John is capable of escaping Earth's atmosphere under his own power, and once in space where gravity and friction are virtually nil he can achieve near-light speeds. His solar sight allows him to detect wormholes and other irregularities in space that he can at times use to travel vast distances at greater than light speeds. His innate physical durability combined with the added protection of his corona allows John to survive unaided in space, and his altered physiology allows his lungs to extract enough hydrogen from the interplanetary and interstellar media and planetary atmospheres to sustain his metabolism.
Though John has a disciplined mind and a strong will, and the Belt of Helios grants a certain amount of magical protection, his mind is still human and so susceptible to psionic attack. Also, while his corona insulates him to some extent from temperature extremes, attacks that involve extreme cold and/or that sap thermal energy are harder for him to deal with, since they lower the energy levels of his plasma and slow his metabolism.
John Phoenix is a former fighter pilot and Astronaut with a PhD in Astrobiology, and he has begun the formal study of magic as a Midnighter.
John possesses The Belt of Helios, a mystical Incarnate artifact imbued with potent Sun-based magic and said to grant it's wearer the power and protection of the Sun god. However, due to their mutually solar nature, John's powers and the magic of the artifact react and respond to one another in a unique way. His powers and the magic of the belt interweave with one another and effectively merge, essentially becoming one and thereby making all of his powers quasi-magical in nature.
This augments John's raw power levels, grants him more control, and affords him a degree of magical protection. For example, he is now able to create sustained, semi-magical constructs of plasma and light--such as shields to protect himself and others--and to call upon elemental spirits of the Sun to aid him. As his understanding of magic grows under the tutelage of the Midnighters, so too does his mastery over the mystical power of the artifact, and he is slowly unlocking new abilities and new levels of power.